Tag: Fox Cities Performing Arts Center

From Holiday to “Hamilton,” the coming months in Appleton look glorious

Publicity photo of "Hamilton" performance.
“Hamilton” to come to Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in October.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

If entertainment offerings in or near Lawrence University are a big part of campus life — and they are — we are in for a spectacular 14 months ahead.

We’ll define “near Lawrence” to mean downtown Appleton, 100% walkability.

Lawrence unveiled its 2019-20 Performing Arts Series earlier this month. The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center released its spectacular 2019-20 Broadway lineup a few weeks ago. And the Mile of Mile Music crew just announced plans for Mile 7.

All we can say is, where do we get in line?

We can’t do them all, of course, but the options look glorious. We’ve highlighted 20 shows to circle on the calendar. This doesn’t include all the great live music available on a regular basis in the downtown area, the weekly farmer’s market, other arts offerings, or all the great theater and music performances at Lawrence.

But these 20 have us pretty fired up.

1: John Holiday, faculty recital, 8 p.m. May 1, Lawrence Memorial Chapel: We’re starting with something that should definitely not slide under the radar. Holiday is one of the Conservatory of Music’s brightest lights. He’s a rising national star in the opera world and has significant chops as a jazz vocalist as well. After giving this recital – and it’s free – his upcoming schedule includes performances at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, shows in England, Shanghai and Switzerland and dates with the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Los Angeles Opera. Joining him May 1 will be Mark Urness (double bass), Dane Richeson (drums), Andrew Crooks (piano) and Neeki Bey (piano).

Portrait of John Holiday
John Holiday

2: Derek Hough: Live! The Tour, 7:30 p.m. May 19, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center: This one is for the ballroom dancers out there. It’s a solo tour from the dancer who helped put “Dancing with the Stars” on the map.

3: Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble, 8 p.m. May 22, Lawrence Memorial Chapel: Fresh off its back-to-back DownBeat Awards, the LUJE highlights the incredible quality of musicianship up and down the roster in the Conservatory of Music. And May is a month where the Conservatory is on full display. Take your pick from a full calendar of Conservatory concerts.

4: John Prine, 8 p.m. May 24, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center: One of the greatest singer-songwriters to ever pick up a guitar, Prine returns to the PAC on the heels of his Grammy-nominated album, “The Tree of Forgiveness.”

5: Mile of Music, Aug. 1-4, downtown Appleton: The festival features more than 900 performances in 70 venues in and around College Avenue. It’s the seventh year of the all-original music festival that has grown into one of Wisconsin’s premier music events. Lawrence plays a big role, with the Conservatory faculty leading the music education portion of the festival. Best of all, most of the performances — mostly up-and-coming artists from around the country — are free.  

6: Nick Offerman, All Rise tour, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 11, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center: In the spirit of this standup show coming to Appleton, we quote (but don’t necessarily endorse) Ron Swanson, Offerman’s “Parks & Recreation” character: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Don’t teach a man to fish, and you feed yourself. He’s a grown man. Fishing isn’t that hard.”

7: Octoberfest, College Avenue, downtown Appleton, Sept. 28: The annual downtown bash ends the summer festival season with a bevy of live music, food and drink that takes over College Avenue with a mass of humanity. Look for the annual License to Cruise on Friday night, then the Octoberfest party all day Saturday. See info here.

8: “Hamilton,” Oct. 1-20, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center: Yes, it’s that “Hamilton.” We’ve been waiting two years since the announcement that the Broadway juggernaut is coming to Appleton. Season tickets are on sale now but individual tickets won’t go on sale until much closer to fall. An on-sale date has yet to be announced. Also, watch for information on possible Student Rush tickets for this and other shows at the PAC.

9: Brooklyn Rider, 8 p.m. Oct. 4, Lawrence Memorial Chapel: This is the kickoff of the Artist Series portion of the Performing Arts Series. A string quartet that melds classical, world and rock sounds. (Season tickets for the series are on sale now; single show tickets go on sale Sept. 17, 920-832-6749, boxoffice@lawrence.edu.)

10: Lawrence University Studio Orchestra, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8, Lawrence Memorial Chapel: The Friday night kickoff to the Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend will put the talents of Lawrence music faculty and students on full display. The Jazz Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra will be doing a combo, filled with jazz classics and plenty of improvisation.

11: Miguel Zenon Quartet, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9, Lawrence Memorial Chapel: The Saturday night of Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend features this multiple Grammy nominee from San Juan who is considered a groundbreaking saxophonist.

12: “The Phantom of the Opera,” Dec. 4-15, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center: The musical, a classic loved by some, loathed by others, returns to Appleton as part of the PAC’s Broadway series.

13: Blue Man Group, Jan. 24-26, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center: Performance art in the shade of blue. It’s a spectacle.

14: Bill Frisell: Harmony featuring Petra Haden, Hank Roberts, and Luke Bergman, 8 p.m. Feb. 7, Lawrence Memorial Chapel: Frisell, a prolific guitarist, will lead this group through a range of blues and popular American traditions. It’s part of LU’s Jazz Series.

Portrait of Tine Thing Helseth
Tine Thing Helseth

15: Tine Thing Helseth, 8 p.m. Feb. 28, Lawrence Memorial Chapel: A Norwegian trumpet soloist with a rock star following. Also part of the Artist Series.

16: Anderson & Roe Piano Duo, 8 p.m. April 3, Lawrence Memorial Chapel: A high-energy piano duo that is part of the Artist Series. The Miami Herald referred to them as “rock stars of the classical music world.”

17: Melody Moore, 8 p.m. April 18, Memorial Chapel: A soprano who has been drawing raves on some of the top opera stages in the world. Our own John Holiday hails her as “thoughtful, engaging and fiercely talented.” Part of the Artist Series.

18: Tigran Hamasyan Trio, 8 p.m. May 1, 2020, Lawrence Memorial Chapel: A pianist and composer with a jazz-meets-rock sound that has drawn wide praise. Lawrence’s Jose Encarnacion calls him “one of the most remarkable and distinctive jazz piano virtuosos of his generation.” His performance is part of the Jazz Series.

19: “The Band’s Visit,” May 5-10, 2020, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center: The sixth of seven shows on the PAC’s Broadway lineup, this is a touring version of the musical that won 10 Tonys in 2018. It’s based on a 2007 Israeli film.

Publicity photo of "Dear Evan Hansen" performance.
“Dear Evan Hansen”

20: “Dear Evan Hansen,” June 23-28, 2020, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center: The finale of the PAC’s Broadway season, this musical tells the emotionally rich tale of a lonely teen who becomes a social media sensation, all quite by accident. For a full listing of shows at the PAC, visit here.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

12,000 Voices: A reading of “12 Angry Men” by 12 impassioned women






“It made me realize, oh my goodness, it’s about how important each of our voices are.”

Associate Professor of Theatre Arts
Kathy Privatt

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

The voices of thousands of women will ring out from stages across the country from April 5 to 8, part of a nationwide effort to draw attention to the power of one’s voice when it comes to participating in the electoral process and speaking up for justice in the judicial system.

The 12,000 Voices project is an opportunity to push for voter registration — it’ll come on the heels of the April 2 election that has Wisconsinites voting on, among other things, a State Supreme Court justice as well as Court of Appeals and Circuit Court judges — and to remind people of the powerful responsibility that comes with being an American citizen, not the least of which is voting and jury duty.

In Appleton, the effort is being led by Lawrence University’s Kathy Privatt, the James G. Ethel M. Barber Professor of Theatre and Drama and associate professor of theater arts, and Maria Van Laanen, president of the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.

Privatt will direct a reading of 12 Angry Men, featuring 12 women from the Fox Cities in the roles of the jurors, set for 3 p.m. April 6 in the Kimberly-Clark Theatre inside the Fox Cities PAC.

It will be one of many such readings taking place at performance centers, college campuses, high schools and community centers across the country during that four-day period.

12 Angry Men focuses on a single juror who stands up for a defendant he believes is about to be wrongfully convicted. The film was released in 1957, 16 years before the last of the 50 states allowed women to serve on juries. The message in these readings with all-female casts — the dream is to eventually get 12,000 women involved — is about embracing all of our responsibilities as citizens.

“It’s about how we live our lives, and in this case, how we live our political lives,” Privatt said. “But in a completely nonpartisan way. We live in a democracy. That means that jury duty is important. It means that voting is important, that that’s part of being an American.”

Kathy Privatt and Maria Van Laanen hold a 12,000 Voices sign.
Kathy Privatt (left) and Maria Van Laanen are leading the “12,000 Voices” effort in Appleton.

In the movie, which would later debut as a Broadway play in 2004, the holdout juror in a murder case raises his voice for justice against intense pressure from his jury peers.

“It made me realize, oh my goodness, it’s about how important each of our voices are,” Privatt said of the classic film. “And that that’s what democracy rests on, that we’re willing to engage with our voices, that we’re willing to be in conversation with each other.”

Van Laanen, who spearheaded local participation in the project, will be in the cast, joined by 12 other women (12 as jurors, one as the guard), all in local leadership positions:

Kimberly Barrett, vice president for diversity and inclusion and associate dean of faculty at Lawrence

Becky Bartoszek, president and CEO of the Fox Cities Chamber

Tracy Bauer, music director and teacher at Mishicot High School

Lisa Cruz, president of Red Shoes PR

Alison Fiebig, corporate communications manager of U.S. Venture

Karen Laws, longtime community leader and philanthropist

Lisa Malek, co-host and producer at WFRV-TV

Linda Morgan-Clement, the Julie Esch Hurvis Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life at Lawrence

Karen Nelson, diversity coordinator for the City of Appleton

Colleen Rortvedt, director of the Appleton Public Library

Jennifer Stephany, executive director of Appleton Downtown Inc.

Christina Turner, president of the Trout Museum of Art and the Building for the Arts.

Maria Van Laanen, president of the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center

The 12 Angry Men reading with an all-female cast was first done in New York a year ago. It drew such a buzz that organizers floated the idea of stretching it across the country.

“When I heard talk in New York about this program and what it achieved when it was done a year ago, and the fact that they were going to try to make it a nationwide effort, it just really rang true to me,” Van Laanen said. “It is so important that we understand that one voice does make a difference, and we need to make sure we are finding a place where we can speak our mind and yet be open to being influenced by other people.

“And 12 Angry Men is a great example of that. You have 12 people with divergent views coming in and really working through, conversationally, how you discuss differing views, and then take that information and find a consensus.”

The League of Women Voters is partnering with the Appleton effort. Attendees will have an opportunity to register to vote or confirm their voter registration information at the April 6 event.

These are fractious political times. Advocating for participation in the process, for sharing your voice in constructive conversation, for raising your hand to participate is part of the message coming from the 12,000 Voices project.

“One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Tennessee Williams when he talks about theater being truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion,” Privatt said. “To me, that’s the heart of theater right there. Whatever it is, whether it’s a happy story or a sad story, whether it’s a rip-you-to-shreds kind of story, once we put it into the fictional, all of a sudden, it’s a little bit more palatable. And this feels like one of those moments where we can absolutely use the pleasant disguise of illusion to talk about something that is really central to who we are as a nation, and who we perhaps aspire to be.”

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

On Stage

What: 12 Angry Men, a reading performed by 12 impassioned women, part of the nationwide 12,000 Voices project

When: 3 p.m. Saturday, April 6

Where: Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, downtown Appleton

Cost: Free (RSVP on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/400996640712037/ or at http://foxcitiespac.com/events-tickets/tickets/events/12,000-voices

More information on 12,000 Voices: https://12000voices.com/

Kaleidoscope: “A buffet of the largest and richest variety”

Since its first performance in 2006, Lawrence University’s Kaleidoscope — a 75-minute musical extravaganza — has literally entertained thousands.

The sixth iteration of Kaleidoscope returns Saturday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. to the stage — and the floor and balconies — of the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, 400 W. College Ave., Appleton.

Tickets, at $15 for adults, $10 for senior citizens and $7 for students, are available at both the Lawrence University Box Office, 920-832-6749, and the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center Box Office, 920-730-3760.Kaleidososcope concert finale with symphony orchestra and choir

From Bernstein to Balinese gamelan, the symphony orchestra to saxophone quartet, choir to chamber ensemble, Kaleidoscope showcases the musical talents of 300 Lawrence students in 15 ensembles.

“Kaleidoscope allows the listener to experience an extremely wide range of musical styles in one sitting,” said Andrew Mast, Kimberly-Clark Professor of Music, associate dean of the conservatory and director of bands, who is coordinating the concert for the second time in its history. “Virtually every area of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music is represented in this 75-minute presentation of non-stop, back-to-back performances. If music was food, Kaleidoscope is a buffet of the largest and richest variety.”

Gawain Usher, a senior from Shoreham Vt., will be performing in his second Kaleidoscope concert, this time as principal viola with the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra.

“For both performer and viewer this concert is a non-stop rollercoaster ride of excellent performances ranging from the intimate to the extravagant. It really offers a wonderful snapshot of what we do at the Lawrence conservatory,” said Usher, a self-described avid chamber music performer. “As a musician getting the opportunity to play at the PAC on the big stage is special. For us instrumentalists, we crave the opportunities to perform in the big halls because it’s something we don’t usually get to do.

“If music was food, Kaleidoscope is a buffet of the largest and richest variety.”
— Andrew Mast, Kimberly-Clark Professor of Music

Lawrence gamelan at Kaleidscope concert“For anyone thinking about going or not going to this concert,” Usher added, “even if you think you don’t like classical music, you will love Kaleidoscope. The whirlwind of performances from different eras, cultures and instrumentations will surely leave you feeling invigorated.”

Senior Kin Le from Hanoi, Vietnam, a soprano in Lawrence’s Concert Choir, calls Kaleidoscope “the most exciting moment that performers and audience can experience together.”

“The spectrum of sounds from various ensembles seemingly come from every corner of the auditorium — from the main stage to the balcony,” said Le, who will be singing in her second Kaleidoscope concert. “The audience members get to immerse themselves in so many different performances in just 75 minutes.”

A singing duet at the Kaleidoscope concertRegardless of one’s tastes, Kaleidoscope6 —  as its name implies — is sure to offer at least one irresistible musical morsel in its 17-piece program. Among the tasty samples will be some Mozart (Mozart Chamber Winds) and Benjamin Britten (opera soloists), Astor Piazzolla (cello ensemble) and Philip Glass (saxophone quartet). The Cantala women’s choir performs its version of Natasha Bedingfield’s contemporary hit “Unwritten” while the symphony orchestra honors Leonard Bernstein with a performance of his “Overture to Candide.”

Works by two composers with local ties — John Harmon and the late Fred Sturm, both Lawrence graduates — will be highlighted by the Lawrence Viking Bassoon Ensemble and the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble, respectively.

Closing the concert, and encompassing the entire array of Kaleidoscope performers, will be an encore presentation of “The Music Makers,” a massive seven-minute work written by Emmy Award-winning composer and 2010 Lawrence graduate Garth Neustadter. “The Music Makers” made its world premiere at the 2015 Kaleidoscope concert.

As a prelude to the concert, art work created by six student studio art majors will be displayed in the PAC lobby.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence takes “The Beggar’s Opera” to the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center

Lawrence University Opera makes its Fox Cities Performing Arts Center debut Feb. 25-28 with four performances of John Gay’s revolutionary “The Beggar’s Opera” in the Kimberly-Clark Theater.

Performances Thursday, Feb. 25- Saturday Feb. 27 begin at 7:30 p.m. A matinee performance on Sunday, Feb. 28 begins at 3 p.m. Tickets, at $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, $8 for students, are available at the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749 or the PAC Box Office, 920-730-3760.

Beggars-Opera_newsblog1
Elena Stabile as Polly Peachum and Mitchell Kasprzyk as Captain Macheath perform in Lawrence’s production of “The Beggar’s Opera.”

Written by Gay as an English counter-response to 18th-century Italian opera, “The Beggar’s Opera” challenges conventional ideas of criminal and governing factions, of love and necessity. The revolutionary opera changed theatre for the next two centuries, introducing the use of popular songs and ballads of the time in a biting satire on English government and society.

At the time, men called thief-takers received stolen goods from thieves and returned them to their rightful owners for a fee. Knowing the names and crimes of each thief they dealt with, the thief-takers could, if not provided enough bounty, turn him over to the authorities for a 40 £ reward. The authorities profitably cooperated with thief-takers in this corrupt system.

“John Gay and his fellow satirists observed and railed against the corruption in the magistrates and elected officials,” said Copeland Woodruff, director of opera studies and stage director of the production. “‘The Beggar’s Opera’ is rife with these antitheses, pointing out that Lords are no more upstanding that the Highwaymen.”

The opera follows the tale of Peachum, thief-taker and informer, who conspires to send dashing and promiscuous highwayman Macheath to the gallows after Macheath has secretly married Peachum’s daughter, Polly. The result is a tale of chase and escape, of thieves and prostitutes, of love and loss, all told by the Beggar, who insists that the performance be viewed like all other fashionable operas of the time. In reality, of course, “The Beggar’s Opera” deliberately breaks away from the form of any opera before it.

Woodruff credited his experience working with the PAC last fall on his special “Expressions of Acceptance” micro-operas event for the location change from Lawrence’s Stansbury Theatre to the downtown venue.Beggar's-Opera_newsblog-4

“After planning the micro-operas there and meeting and working with the wonderful, generous team at the PAC, it seemed a perfect fit for this opera,” said Woodruff. “The Kimberly-Clark Theater has a very intimate feeling and the audience will be feet away from performers in a piece that is of the people and by the people.”

Guest conductor Hal France directs the orchestra, while Bonnie Koestner serves as music director and vocal coach. Choreography was designed by Margaret Paek and fight choreography by J. Christopher Carter. Michael J. Barnes served as the production’s accent coach.

In the double-cast production, sophomores Ian Grimshaw and John Perkins share the role of Mr. Peachum. Senior Elena Stabile and junior Lizzie Burmeister portray Polly Peachum, while seniors Mitchell Kasprzyk and David Pecsi portray Captain Macheath. seniors Kelsey Wang and Katie Mueller share the role of Lucy Lockit.

In addition to live music played my members of the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra during the opera, Holy Sheboygan!, a local band of Lawrence alumni, will play a pre-opera concert beginning 30 minutes before the start of each day’s performance as well as during two 10-minute intermissions.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.